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Friday, 3 January 2014
Statement from Cllr. Poole, Cabinet Member for Operational Services
2013 Christmas Waste & Recycling collections The council would like to apologise to residents who have not received their usual recycling and waste collections over the Christmas period.
We are currently using several extra vehicles and crews to support the service and it is anticipated we will have completed any outstanding collections by the end of planned collections on Saturday, and so we would like to ask residents to continue to leave their bins out for collection. We will maintain the separation of recycling and waste as much as possible, but unfortunately some of the additional vehicles that we are using do not have the facility to do this. There are also cleaning resources going out to streets to assist with the clean-up of side waste.
The decision to suspend operations on the 24th December 2013 was not taken lightly and was based on several factors:
The storm that hit the UK in the early hours of Christmas Eve was unprecedented, causing major travel disruptions on the rail network, closing down Gatwick Airport and closing sections of the Thanet Way and other main roads due to multiple fallen trees.
At 6:00am, when crews were scheduled to leave the depot, the wind was still extremely high and had already resulted in two crew members being injured on their way to work. Should the crews have begun collections at this time, there was a high risk of injury and potential damage from emptied bins blowing around.
The crews were held back for an hour but the wind hadn’t decreased and information from the MetOffice was that this would continue throughout the morning. Management and Union representatives concluded that based on all the facts and information at hand, it was unsafe to both our crews and property to undertake collections and so we suspended the service for that day.
During the Christmas period, there is always a lot more recycling and waste to collect. Properties typically generate over three times their usual amount. In addition, the transfer station where recycling is deposited after collection, worked reduced hours over the Christmas period so our collections had to be curtailed. This has not only affected the catch up collections, but also the normal days' service, as we have been unable to collect from all properties in time to deposit the recycling before the transfer station closed.
Following the suspension of service on 24th December, the atrocious weather on all planned collection days continued affecting the speed at which collections can be completed. The crews are still struggling in the high winds and need to be careful to stay safe.
We are sorry for the disruption that this has caused some of our residents. The new service is under constant review and we continue to investigate improvements and efficiencies based on experiences and feedback from our residents.